Computers less helpful on college drinking
Computer-delivered and face-to-face interventions both can help curb problematic college drinking for a little while, but only in-person encounters produce results that last beyond a few months, according to a new analysis of the techniques schools use to counsel students on alcohol consumption.
CDIs—computer-delivered interventions—have gained prominence on college campuses because they can reach a large number of students almost regardless of the size of a college's counseling staff, said Kate Carey, lead author of a systematic review of 48 studies published online in Clinical Psychology Review and slated for the December 2012 print edition.
"If your resources are limited, and resources always are, and that's all that you can field for your institution, then offering a computer-delivered intervention is better than nothing," said Carey, professor of behavioral and social sciences in Brown University's Program in Public Health and a researcher at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies.
"But the question is would your resources allow you to do something better if something better existed," she said, "and we do know now that there are intervention modalities that might be better."
In the study, Carey and her co-authors found that both methods of delivering alcohol interventions had positive effects in the first few months, but by 14 weeks after the intervention, computer-delivered methods no longer had any significant effects on drinking habits. The benefits of face-to-face interventions were also stronger from the start, and decayed more slowly over time.
The team also found indications of what kind of content works and doesn't work in each type of intervention and that women are less likely to be helped by CDIs than men.
The prevalence of the CDIs is apparent in the 48 studies Carey and her colleagues analyzed. More than 32,000 students were included in the 26 studies of CDIs while 5,237 were included in 22 face-to-face intervention studies.
But Carey and her colleagues conducted the review to assess what colleges were really gaining by employing computers for student alcohol counseling.
"There has been a real upsurge in popularity and widespread implementation of all these CDIs, and for a long time it seemed the research was lagging," Carey said. "We wanted to know if this upsurge is really a good thing"
Stronger results face-to-face
The studies typically measured weekly and/or daily alcohol consumption, sometimes blood-alcohol levels and other metrics of drinking behavior among students, and were published in years ranging from 1998 to 2010. Most of the studies compared the effects of either face-to-face interventions or CDIs to no intervention at all. A few studies compared the two interventions directly.
By carefully analyzing all 48 studies, the team of researchers at Brown, The Miriam Hospital, and Syracuse University was able to compare the effectiveness of the interventions with much more statistical power than anyone has before. That's important because the effects of either kind of intervention are typically small.
Still, in-person counseling was able to show significant benefits in the first 13 weeks in all of five areas: quantity per week or month, quantity per drinking day (e.g. a Saturday of parties), frequency of heavy drinking, blood-alcohol content, and alcohol-related problems. Computer counseling only moved the needle initially in three areas: per week or month quantity, frequency of heavy drinking, and blood-alcohol content.
The effects from in-person counseling were also stronger in all but one area: blood-alcohol content.
Between 14 and 26 weeks, two of the face-to-face delivered effects remained significant—quantity per drinking day and blood-alcohol content—but none of the computer-delivered benefits were still significant. After 27 weeks, one of the face-to-face benefits—in quantity per drinking day—persisted.
Carey said the weaker effects from CDI's might arise from the inability of a computer to hold a student's attention.
"Many designers have done reasonable jobs trying to make CDIs interactive for participants," she said, "but one thing that might be missing in these interactions, if somebody is tempted to game the system or if they are just getting bored, is someone on the other side to pull them back in and help them stay engaged."
In addition, Carey found evidence that some CDIs are delivering content that undermines their efficacy. For example, online exercises that attempt to assess values or decision making in high-risk situations appeared to make CDIs less effective.
In contrast, content that included alcohol education, personalized feedback, and moderation strategies helped increase the efficacy of face-to face interventions.
CDIs have value, Carey concluded, but to some extent colleges may be getting what they pay for when they try to save money using computer systems. "You certainly wouldn't want to spend a lot of money to get an effect that only lasts for three months," Carey said.
Provided by Brown University
- Curbing college binge drinking: What role do 'alcohol expectancies' play? Apr 18, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Effect of behavioral intervention on alcohol misuse evaluated Sep 25, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Student drinking: Changing perceptions reduces alcohol misuse Jul 08, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Computer-delivered intervention for alcohol use during pregnancy Oct 26, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Early intervention may curb dangerous college drinking Jan 30, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
7 hours ago Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Youth who had a schoolmate die by suicide are significantly more likely to consider or attempt suicide, according to a study in published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). This effect can last 2 years or mo ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered specific chemical alterations in two genes that, when present during pregnancy, reliably predict whether a woman will develop postpartum depression.
Psychology & Psychiatry 9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts seems to improve the brain power of older people better than advising them to follow a low-fat diet, indicates research published online in the Journal of ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 19 hours ago | 2 / 5 (1) | 2
More people are being diagnosed with eating disorders every year and the most common type is not either of the two most well known—bulimia or anorexia—but eating disorders not otherwise specified (eating disorders that ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 19 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Turns out, that old "practice makes perfect" adage may be overblown. New research led by Michigan State University's Zach Hambrick finds that a copious amount of practice is not enough to explain why people ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 20 hours ago | 3.3 / 5 (12) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Despite spending billions of dollars on research and development, drug companies have been unable to come up with effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Now, A. ...
34 minutes ago | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Children with autism showed significant improvement after six months of simple sensory exercises at home using everyday items such as scents, spoons and sponges, according to UC Irvine neurobiologists.
19 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
An attack on glioblastoma brain tumor cells that uses a modified poliovirus is showing encouraging results in an early study to establish the proper dose level, researchers at Duke Cancer Institute report.
25 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Overweight and obese patients are significantly more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to repeatedly switch primary care doctors, a practice that disrupts continuity of care and leads to more emergency room visits, ...
20 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke in early childhood are more likely to grow up to physically aggressive and antisocial, regardless of whether they were exposed during pregnancy or their parents have a history ...
57 minutes ago | 1 / 5 (1) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Native peoples in regions where cameras are uncommon sometimes react with caution when their picture is taken. The fear that something must have been stolen from them to create the photo ...
2 hours ago | 3.5 / 5 (2) | 0 |